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We are currently experiencing a transition in staff.
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I aim to catch you
Coming out of your flat
The mobile you gave your
9-year-old son when you
Went away to Tenerife
And call me in an emergency
And found the dildo you left
In your luggage I can’t understand
You the way you move the way
Your shoulders come out of your top
You give your boyfriend a handjob
In his dad’s taxi but you have chilli
On your hands and it gives him a
Fright – on the bus home you
Call me or I call you i cant remember
You were with a friend and said
Where were u when your boyfriend
Was being kicked to death? Your
Mobile, on silent, fuzzing next
To your head
To be honest this text is glittering like a giff in the sky
This wide screen tv never works
It is as glittering as a couple of couples figuring out
The bbq on a west summer day
The amount of love I have is measured
By the amount of hate – wondering around
You push your hands over the kitchen cabinet
And say it stinks of fish – your mobile phone
Is charging in your room – because of the heat
Or because you just finished yr last exam and
Are meeting your secret boyfriend you forget it
In your room – your fringe covers your head
And curls a little before your eyebrows
You are your fringe, you are careless in
the way you love and I don’t quite believe it
but you are in love like calpol
I buy a pair of adidas trainers
And think of you looking at me
In them the light from the shop
Window the cool purple of
Night a friend in a bomber jacket
big chipped front
Tooth pale skin one dent below
Your eye a green plastic bag
That tv show about zombies
Integrating back into
Village life their poor
Lovers clinging to a shape
These parasites in sliver
Remind me of the time
You took mom chloe
And me to the river
There are a white horse
And it has grey bits
the computer, when
you don’t find me
Profile: Sarah Chapman
Profile: Andrew Topel
On the way home from work on a Tuesday I realize that if I don’t want to I don’t have to turn right on Bleecker like I’ve been doing on my way home from work for the past three years and so I turn left instead and I try to think of something profound because this is a moment and I’m taking control of my life or something but the best I can think of is that this must be what it feels like for a dog who’s lived on a lawn with an invisible electric fence for three years and then one Tuesday after work his owner says whatever and turns the electric fence off and now he can just walk away. And then I remember all of my neighbors who used to have dogs that just hung out on their lawns their whole lives, and once in a while the kids would come out and play with them, and the rest of the time they were just lying there and when you’d walk by they’d give you this look like they’d be totally okay with it if you just dragged them to the edge of the lawn, to the perimeter of the invisible electric fence and pulled them a little bit more right into it and let it slowly shock them to death rather than leave them there to sit on the lawn and occasionally play with bored children until they die.
And now I’m lost and I think I’m in the West Village but I can’t tell, but it’s mostly warm out so I keep walking, and I see this girl wearing a yellow poncho and now I’m following her. She has nice legs and she looks like she reads used books for fun and would name her cat after a political figure except with some sort of cat pun, like David Catmeron or Meowmoud Abbas. I keep walking and then she turns around a yard in front of me and says are you following me? I say yes and then she grimaces before running in between cars and crossing the street and yells something but I can’t tell what she said. I will realize seven hours later after I’ve played it back enough times that she was saying fine, walk faster then.
But I don’t know that when I’m still on my way home from work and I think that maybe I slipped through the invisible electric fence at the corner of Bleecker and Sullivan and I’m just supposed to keep walking so now I’m alone and I do.
Profile: Zachery Morris
The implosion was set
for 7:30 a.m. Publix opened 2 hours earlier
than usual to accommodate the expected
crowds. Thousands arrived before dawn
on a Sunday to watch. The chaos
rained gallons of dust over the onlookers.
inside the blast radius, applause
erupted. There were whispers of vibrations
inducing labor pains. Too bad
it was a hospital vaporized
at the close of the countdown.
The hive is a li[v]e in a hand full of dreams.
And spinning a span of conscious debauchery,
this blustering buzz bounces. A ball
of (subtle?) subterfuge re-assembles
inside its space. Place time
against its shadow. Three wishes dissolve
each other in the middle of their own. Sentence
decryption: the headstone is riddled
by tractors. Trading blades with labels
seems civilized somehow in this smokeless dimension.
Or was it/I spoking dementia as we flowered
into each other’s scenes? Of science
and rationale . . . such rhetoric
recites its own curve.
C is the grade of the grave we cover
with[in] exhaustion’s breath.
Profile: AJ Huffman
Harry Tompkins and the Art of Forgiveness
by Donal Mahoney
Harry Tompkins hadn’t been to church for many years. He still believed in God but going to church didn’t interest him. Then on a warm Saturday afternoon in August, he met Jayne, a lovely woman, at a company picnic. He liked Jayne a great deal and he thought he might improve his chances with her if he accepted her invitation to go to church on Sunday morning. Jayne had a way about her that Harry liked. Besides she looked like a woman who would bear good children.
“What time should I pick you up?” he asked her. She told him 9:30 would be fine. “That will give us plenty of time to get to the ten o’clock Mass.”
The priest’s sermon, it turned out, was about the importance of forgiveness and that was a topic Harry knew something about. He had not made a lot of enemies in life but the ones he had made, he cherished even if their infractions had occurred decades ago. Forgiving them would never enter his mind. Enemies are enemies, Harry thought, but he could understand where the priest was coming from.
Harry had spent many years of a considerable education in Catholic schools. And one of the basic mottoes in those schools was to forgive your enemies as you would want Jesus to forgive you. He didn’t want to be disrespectful to the Son of God but Jesus had grown up in Nazareth, after all, which was quite a bit different than Harry’s neighborhood in Chicago back in the 1950s. In Harry’s youth, fights were not a daily occurrence but a week seldom went by without at least one good fight occurring. Fights were always fair back then because to fight dirty was the lowest thing someone could do. You would be branded for life as a dirty fighter. If you couldn’t get the job done with your fists, then don’t fight is the way Harry looked at it.
Chief among Harry’s enemies from the old neighborhood were Elmer and John. They were two boys, older than Harry by a couple of years. Decades ago they beat the Hades out of him in an alley in Chicago. Harry at that time was in the 8th grade and he was going home from school when he got jumped. The nun had been happy with Harry that day, even if that was a rare occurrence, because he had won the all-school 8th grade spelling bee, no small feat in a class where verbal skills outdistanced math skills. Besides, it was usually a girl who won the spelling bees. But Harry could always spell. He’d look at a word once and it was memorized. This time he won because he could spell “ukulele” and Barbara O’Brien, “Miss Goody Two Shoes,” couldn’t even come close and had to settle for second.
His enemies Elmer and John were high school sophomores the day they pounded Harry, who though big for his age was still only an 8th grader. Elmer and John were small for sophomores but the two of them together were more than Harry at the time could handle. It was a beating Harry never forgot, perhaps because he had won all the other fights he had ever had in grammar school and would have later on in high school. Besides, it sure wasn’t easy explaining to his parents that night how he had managed to get a black eye and split lip coming home from school.
“I pay the nuns at St. Nick’s good tuition,” his father had said, “to make sure you grow up right.” He wanted to go down to the school and discuss the matter with the nuns but Harry somehow talked him out of it. He explained that the kids who beat him up didn’t go to St. Nick’s. In fact, Harry said, they looked like Lutherans. His father said to tell him if Harry ever saw the boys again.
Two years later, when Harry was a sophomore in high school, Elmer and John were seniors at a different high school. Harry was now 6’1″ and about 180lbs. He’d been lifting weights on a regular basis, hoping to gain weight for the football team. Elmer and John, on the other hand, were still relative runts, perhaps 5’6″ or 5’7″ and maybe 140lbs at best. Harry hadn’t seen either one of the boys since his throttling. But he had always remembered the beating and he assured himself that if he ever had a chance to make things right, he would do so.
It so happened that around that time Harry met a nice girl at a school dance and it turned out that meeting her led to renewing old acquaintances with Elmer. The girl’s name was Margaret Mary and she lived in a wealthy neighborhood. She invited him to a graduation party that her parents had arranged. She didn’t know that Harry was only a sophomore.
Harry decided to go to the party because he liked the girl despite her living in a fancy neighborhood, one that he had visited only once before when his high school basketball team had defeated the team from Margaret Mary’s school. Besides, Harry remembered that Margaret Mary had said her parents had hired a caterer to provide the food. That sure beat hot dogs—the main fare at any party in his neighborhood.
There were a lot of kids at the party that Saturday night and they were all from different neighborhoods. At first, Harry saw no one he knew, certainly no one from his blue-collar neighborhood, which was just as well because with him in a suit and tie he would have had to take a lot of razzing if any of his friends spotted him. Later in the evening, however, Elmer walked in, still short and skinny but decked out in a nice seersucker suit.
Harry recognized Elmer immediately but Elmer did not recognize him. When Elmer decided to go outside to have a cigarette, Harry followed him. He let Elmer take a few drags before he walked up and asked Elmer how life was treating him now that graduation was near.
“You going to college, Elmer?”
Elmer still didn’t recognize Harry. It was no wonder, then, that he never saw the uppercut coming. Down went Elmer with Harry on top of him. Many punches later, one of Elmer’s teeth lay on the sidewalk and he was gushing blood from his left eye. The other kids heard the ruckus and came poring out of the party but Harry, by that time, had taken off. Elmer had gotten his, Harry figured. There was no need to hang around and complicate matters.
Besides, Harry figured the cops would be scouring the neighborhood looking for a kid that fit his description so he spent the five bucks his mother had given him to take a cab home. He had never told Margaret Mary his real name, just that his nickname was “Skip.” She wouldn’t have been able to tell the cops where to find him. And he didn’t think Elmer would remember who he was.
And so that was one reason why in church that Sunday with the lovely Jayne—at least thirty years after pummeling Elmer—Harry found the priest’s sermon on forgiveness resonating. At age 46, he had acquired a couple of college degrees, had held a good job for many years, but had never met a woman he wanted to marry. It wasn’t that he hadn’t met some lovely women over the years. He had met a number of them and enjoyed them all but found them disposable.
“Most women are like Kleenex,” he’d once told a friend who had inquired why he had never married. But Jayne seemed different. He thought right way she’d make a good wife.
So Harry listened to the sermon and even prayed a little. He remembered all the words to the Lord’s Prayer. Having been raised Catholic, he knew when to kneel, stand and sit which can be confusing to someone not Catholic attending a Mass. He also thought his prayerfulness might impress Jayne, who was obviously a very spiritual person. But he didn’t join her in going up the aisle for Holy Communion because he had been living in mortal sin for years and as a Catholic he knew he should not receive Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin. He might be a sinner, Harry thought, but he wasn’t about to commit a sacrilege to impress Jayne. A few rules even Harry wouldn’t break.
After Mass, Harry and Jayne went to a nice restaurant for brunch. She took the opportunity to ask him how he liked the Mass and the sermon—or as she called it, “the homily.”
Harry said he liked the Mass in that it brought back memories of his younger years in Catholic schools but the sermon, he said, had upset him a little.
“Why,” Jayne asked.
Harry then told her in great detail the whole story about Elmer and John beating him up when he was in grammar school. He also told her how he had managed two years later to pay Elmer back with a good thrashing at an otherwise nice party.
That’s when Jayne asked him if thumping Elmer wasn’t enough. Couldn’t he now forgive Elmer and John for beating him up?
Harry said that maybe, just maybe, he could forgive Elmer at some point in his life but not now, even though it was 30 years later. Besides he still hadn’t found John. He had even thought about hiring a private detective to get his address. Harry didn’t care what city John lived in because that’s why they have planes and trains. And as he told Jayne over their last cup of coffee, when he did find John he would beat the hell out of him, worse than he had beaten Elmer at that party.
“I’ll bounce his filthy skull off the concrete,” Harry told Jayne, wiping the corners of his mouth with his napkin, “if the opportunity presents itself. And I’m pretty sure that some day it will. What goes around comes around. Even Hitler found that out.”
He wouldn’t kill John, Harry assured Jayne, when she finally came back from the lady’s room. “But if possible I’ll leave the schmuck laying there in a puddle of blood, wishing he were dead.”
Schmuck was a Yiddish word, of course, and he wasn’t sure if Jayne knew what it meant. It would be just as well if she didn’t. Harry seldom used the word but if he started to get riled up about something, it sometimes fell out of his mouth.
If he got the chance to meet John again and settle matters, Harry told Jayne, then afterward it might be time to talk about forgiving him and Elmer but he’d have to give it some thought. He didn’t like to make commitments if he wasn’t sure he could keep them. Then Harry drove Jayne home and told her he’d like to see her again. Jayne smiled but didn’t really say anything except good-bye when she got out of the car.
As time went on, Harry never saw Jayne again even though he continued to call her for several months. She was never at home, it seemed, or maybe she was a hard sleeper.
Finally Harry quit calling her and started going out again with different women.
“The flavor of the month,” as he told another friend.
He never found another woman like Jayne but as Harry liked to say, “any port in a storm.”
Profile: Donal Mahoney
“It was a quiet sound, but it woke me up because it was a human sound.”
From “The Man on the Stairs” in No one belongs here more than you by Miranda July.
To watch one close. To
you, seeking to see
hope some semblance
of you in your lover’s
eyes, a nerve wreath.
Exposure of soft
evidence a desiring
and the beginning
of waning; too much.
For the seeping sense
of arrhythmia leaping
to cross the nocturnal:
space, a questioning.
Is absent solidity
swung in the radii
of seeing the way:
an unspeaking; death.
my house unfinished
thoughts hung from the ceiling
borne of either latticed dust
or species of delicate spider
mining for the drooping bend
that light curve that swayed
with the breath. of guests in
fleeing like the hobo with
a tarpaulin diaphragm, a swell
in my chest the rise of guilt
trapped. how to draw the line
for gymnasts of a sheltering
when nothing rent hangs above
both curvatures of space decay.
The things I refer to have holes;
imprints of the moon’s ocular lick,
tongue budded absorbing breath
— between kisses, this is time
for interpretation a need, to read
after a fullstop — night
shaken, powdered stars drizzle
into a trembling body taut
on your voice resigning
to lazy revelation.
after a line from The Maximus Poems by Charles Olson
my muse said: hey man,
do you want to come
over and smoke some
hydroponic bud, I said
yes I see atlantis
when we pass main st.
skytrain, station the view
for he is none
other than this false
creek where I am an
other, fine with being
stolen, ancient sun
fish scales on the tips
of eyelashes, two people
are better then; honesty
reflected in the battling
rigid one, ultima thule.
Profile: Shazia Hafiz Ramji
A couple of weeks ago some of my friends came over to my house to watch the new short film by me. The friends included three of my male friends, a girl that I’m interested in, and a girl that I barely know that I invited simply because inviting only one girl would’ve been awkward and suspicious for the girl I’m interested in.
The showing of my new short film was held in the living room, but since it was the first time the girl I’m interested in had visited my home, I decided to show her my bedroom.
On top of the desk sat my laptop, turned on. The girl instantly noticed the wallpaper on the desktop of my laptop. The wallpaper was a production still from the movie “Greenberg”, featuring the stars Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwig. “Greenberg” is my favorite movie of all time. The girl asked me what movie my wallpaper was taken from. I said the movie was called “Greenberg” and it starred Ben Stiller and that she probably wouldn’t like it and that she probably shouldn’t watch it. She said she was interested anyway. We went back to the living room.
It was a carefully constructed psychological trick on my part. Obviously, I wanted her to watch my favorite movie of all time a lot. I had left the laptop on on purpose.
Back in the living room we finished watching the new short film of mine. After that, the girl “accidentally” noticed the carefully placed beforehand by me DVD of the movie “Greenberg”. She asked me if she could borrow it, in typical-for-her infantile, over-the-top manner. (Although the girl I’m interested in studies at university, she still looks like she’s at least three years younger than she is, and acts like she’s at least five years younger than she is. I do not say she is stupid. For example, her sense of humour seems darkly ironic; or maybe I am just imagining it.) I said that she couldn’t borrow it, because she probably wouldn’t return it and I occasionally liked to re-watch this movie. In reality, I bought the disc specifically to lend to her, as normally I pirate all the movies I watch. Besides, I had watched the movie “Greenberg” three times already and didn’t have any plans to watch it for the fourth time. She asked for the DVD once again, even in a more annoyingly infantile tone. I agreed to lend her the DVD, under the conditions that she would watch it as soon as possible and that she would return it as soon as she watched it.
A week later I called her on her mobile phone. I invited her over to my house to watch my new short film. She said that she’d already watched my short film the week before. I said that it was a newer short film. She said that unfortunately she already had other plans. She also said that she had dyed her hair a new colour. I asked her what colour it was. She said she couldn’t describe the colour properly and that I should see her new picture on facebook instead. I said I’d rather see it in person. She laughed and said that we should definitely meet soon.
Just when she was about to say bye, I asked her if she’d watched the movie yet. It was an extremely carefully timed move on my part, since I didn’t want to sound obnoxious. I think I succeeded and sounded pretty casual and spontaneous. She said that she had watched it, but unfortunately she couldn’t say she liked it and that the movie was not everybody’s cup of tea. I tried to sound self-ironical by saying that in my experience, the phrase “couldn’t say I like it” usually meant “absolutely hated it” and the phrase “not everybody’s cup of tea” meant “total shit”. I asked her if that was the case, because if it was, I’d definitely be cool with it, as the movie is not very popular to begin with and I’m quite used to people not liking it. She said that the movie left a bad aftertaste in her mouth, but she definitely didn’t hate it. She asked me what I liked about it. For some reason she caught me off guard. I didn’t think she would ask me that. I couldn’t think of anything better to say than that the movie “Greenberg” was a very important generational statement; before starting to name drop the people who did cameos in it, like Zosia Mamet and Mark Duplass and Juno Temple and Dave Franco (the brother of James Franco), and also James Murphy who did the soundtrack. I went as far as saying that she probably didn’t even know who Zosia Mamet was.
As if that would be a fair reason why one couldn’t get the movie.
What an obnoxious person I am.
She said that she didn’t even know who Greta Gerwig was before she saw this movie. “Exactly,” I said. She said, “Well, we should probably discuss the movie when we meet, okay?” I agreed and said bye. She said bye, and I ended the call.
I am yet to hear from her again.
I am in a foreign city. I went to the foreign city with a male friend of mine and his several friends to see a concert of a band. I hate the band in question, that’s not the reason I went, but everyone seems to think it is.
We are in this terrible sushi place. I am extremely bored, to the point of that I am no longer worried about not annoying people.
I announce to my friend’s boring friends that I’m now gonna tell this great anecdote. They are not interested even at this point, before I’ve even started. Instead, the girls are messing with their cell phones, and the boys just look bored, but still don’t seem to be interested in anything besides being bored.
I try to grab attention of this one girl who doesn’t have a pair in the group. “You listen,” I say. She listens.
I tell the story of the “Greenberg” DVD, almost word-for-word as presented above. I get around a quarter in before she finally completely loses any attention and starts to talk to another guy. My friend quietly tells me to stop my stupid and boring anecdote because I’m freaking out his friends.
I do not stop telling the anecdote because at this point it’s a matter of honour for me. I tell the anecdote till the end but nobody listens to me, or maybe they just pretend not to listen to me.
Later that day me and my friend are in a fast food restaurant meeting up with a female friend of ours, whom we both know since we were kids and who studies to become an actress. Her sister is there also.
We’ve caught up and now there’s an awkward pause. I propose to tell a great anecdote. My friend tells her that I already told that uninteresting anecdote earlier that day, and that it was a complete disaster.
She smiles and says that’s she’s very interested in hearing anything I say.
I proceed to tell the story of the “Greenberg” DVD. The anecdote is a huge success with her. She laughs at all the funny parts, including my great impression of the girl asking for the DVD. I feel like she’s the only person in the world that understands me.
We make a long eye contact. I look away. I look at her again, only to find out she’s still looking at me. She laughs slightly.
I suspect she has a secret crush on me, just like I have a secret crush on her.
Profile: Thor Løve
“Congratulations,” I thought, “Everyone likes you for who you are.”
I woke up with a large stye in my eye.
At the hospital, a woman talked to me for fifteen minutes about her sick aunt.
She said, “It feels like she’s getting worse everyday. It’s so difficult.”
“Imagine how she must feel,” I said.
In the doctor’s room, the nurse asked me if my dick was in good health.
“I wish I was taller,” I thought.
Later, I hugged you for a very, very long time.
“What do you think of my facial hair?” I asked, “I haven’t shaved in a week.”
“Peach fuzz,” you said.
“Do I look manly?”
You laughed, “It’s gross. And facial hair doesn’t make you a man.”
Outside, you looked at my eye and asked what was wrong with it.
“Side effect from just liking you so much,” I said.
You looked at me and said, “Okay.”
I imagined how you would look with shorter hair.
You said something about your ex-boyfriend.
I wondered if fighting him would impress you.
I woke up the next day with the stye gone.
You were sleeping next to me.
I said, “I have something to tell you.”
You opened your eyes.
“I don’t want this to ruin our friendship, but I want to be honest with you.”
“Okay,” you said.
“I like you a lot, but I want to be more than friends. Because I think you’re cute.”
“And I want to go out with you,” I said.
“I don’t know if I can handle a relationship right now,” you said.
“It will be hard but I think it will work out. I want you to go on a date with me.”
“Okay,” she said, “but lets take things slow.”
“We can go to a movie,” I said.
“Then we can get dinner,” I said.
“Then we can go back home and I’ll, I don’t know, fuck your brains out, I guess.”
You said, “I love you.”
I remembered that time when I asked you to tie my shoe for me and you did.
I thought that was funny.
Later that day, we formed a suicide pact
“Okay, what is that?”
“We need to kill ourselves together,” I said, “It’ll be romantic.”
“Okay, I guess we can do that.”
“I want to hug you,” I said.
“Then hug me.”
“No,” I said, “I change my mind.”
I didn’t hug you.
We haven’t spoken since August.
I ate a sandwich alone at Subway and felt just fine.
“I have this many friends,” I thought and stared at my hand.
Today, I cut myself shaving and it didn’t stop bleeding until 4PM.
Outside, It was partly cloudy.
“Things I like. . .” I thought without finishing the sentence.
Profile: Theo Thimo
This is going to be a happy story.
So I won’t talk about that time you accidentally sent me to the emergency room when I was just two-years old because you didn’t know I was allergic to peanut butter.
And I won’t talk about the time you forgot to pick me up after soccer practice when I was seven and I was stuck in the rain all by myself for what felt like forever.
And I won’t talk about the time when I wanted to be a cowboy with a big gun for Halloween and instead you dressed me up as a giant teddy bear and all the other boys from school made fun of me.
And I won’t talk about the time when you forced me to wear your old sweatshirts from the eighties, the ones with the random animals on them, to school because the washing machine broke and I didn’t have any clean clothes.
And I won’t talk about the time that you bought me a bicycle as my big Christmas present even though you knew I didn’t know how to ride one and was terrified of even trying again despite being older now.
And I won’t talk about the time when I brought my girlfriend home and you were so drunk that you were mumbling ideas about where I should take her for a date while playing solitaire on the kitchen table by yourself.
And I won’t talk about the time that you found my stash of porn magazines and forced me to sit down and talk about it with you in a serious manner. It was awkward and the loudest parts seemed to be the moments of silence when I was trying to come up with a response to you saying that the pictures were sinful.
And the happy part of the story is that it’s over and I don’t have to talk about all those times anymore.
Profile: Patrick Trotti